In Memory of Richard Kiel: Jaws’s Chalk Stripe Suit in The Spy Who Loved Me

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Jaws-Three-Piece-Suit

With great sadness, on Wednesday 10 September we lost Richard Kiel, the actor who twice played the henchman Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. I’ve never heard Roger Moore speak of anyone so kindly and with so much respect as he does for Richard Kiel. When I saw Roger Moore speak at Book Revue in Huntington, NY in 2008, a child asked Moore, “What was Jaws like in real life?” Moore responded, “Well, Jaws in real life is seven-foot-two, and he’s what I call a gentle giant. He is such a nice man, so kind, and we were in Canada a few years ago. Every time he would bring up the subject of UNICEF so I could talk about it. A good man.”

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Only a month ago I wrote about Jaws’ azure double-breasted blazer in The Spy Who Loved Me, but now let’s look at his more tasteful charcoal chalkstripe three-piece suit that he also wears in the film. It’s a very conservative suit for 1977, and Jaws appropriately wears it for two meetings with his boss, Karl Stromberg. In comparison to the other clothes he wears throughout the film, the three-piece suit is the only outfit that makes him look like a truly menacing character.

Richard Kiel mentioned his wardrobe in The Making of The Spy Who Loved Me documentary: “The director and the producer—Lewis Gilbert is directing, Mr Broccoli is the producer—really wanted Jaws to be not just the ordinary heavy, and my wardrobe is very well tailored.” Though the well-tailored aspect of Jaws is maintained until the end of The Spy Who Loved Me, it was discarded for the more comedic interpretation of the character in Moonraker.

A man of Jaws’ size must certainly have his suits made for him, and the same tailor or costumier who made the azure blazer probably made the suit as well. The single-breasted suit jacket has the same large, imposing shoulders that the double-breasted blazer has, but it has much more shape through the body for an elegant look. The jacket is a button two with a medium button stance and wide notched lapels. A slightly long jacket helps to anchor Jaws at the cost of emphasising his towering height. The jacket pulls at the button, which may be the result of Jaws’ body type being difficult to tailor. His jacket sleeves are also too long, covering the top of his hands. The jacket is detailed with slanted, flapped pockets and double vents. The suit’s waistcoat most likely has six buttons and the trousers have a slightly flared leg with plain hems.

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Jaws’ light grey shirt is an unconventional choice that flatters his cool winter complexion. It has a fashionably large point collar that has a generous amount of tie space. The shirt’s placket is stitched 1/4″ from the edge to match the collar and cuff stitching. Jaws’ tie is black with a woven red diamond motif that has a small black square in the centre of each diamond. He ties it in a four-in-hand knot. Jaws’ shoes are black.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for covering this. I wrote of my memory meeting Mr. Kiel in my comment to the blazer post past month. May he rest in peace.

  2. Yes, by all accounts a gentleman. And Roger Moore’s kind description of his friend and co-star indicates someone cut from the same cloth (excusing the pun)!

  3. Farewell Mr Kiel. i have a good storyline for a new bond movie though, i hope Barbara Broccoli could just see it, she’ll love it!

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